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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Darkside December 13, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Okay, here’s a band who are almost unknown. And perhaps for good reason. And yet, and yet over the years since I first heard them there’s some quality to their music that has stayed with me.

Pete Bassman (née Bain) and Rosco were former members of Spaceman 3 – a band I had relatively little interest in other than Sonic Boom’s more electronic/ambient/krautrock excursions (and who once claimed that Loop, of all people, were ripping them off… hmmm.. pot, kettle, etc, particularly as regards The Jesus and Mary Chain and a host of late 1960s influences).

And here are Spacemen 3 with “Walking With Jesus”.

So that makes it doubly odd that I really really like The Darkside. Here they are with Waiting for the Angels

Because it surely can’t be the vocals, which are – to be kind – workmanlike. And yet that monotonic delivery has a certain charm to my ears which somehow is reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. But the problem there is that I long long ago fell out of interest, let alone love, of the VU (other oddly than the albums that Lou Reed completed after John Cale did a runner). Which means that by some curious process I actually really like them.

They managed to issue two albums, astoundingly enough on one of Beggars Banquet’s offshoots, an eponymously named first album and a second one entitled Melomania. The sound, as with the track above was firmly positioned in a sort of faux-1960s place, droney, space rock-like, hints of psychedelia particularly the darker side of that genre.

Here is a track, Good For Me, from the second album where overall frankly the vocals tended to disintegrate (although wise man to put a bit of reverb and echo on them). And yet, once more, they don’t irritate me in the way that some of Spacemen 3’s similarly spoken/sung vocals do.

Bassman was a busyish guy in the 1990s going on after The Darkside collapsed to lead Alpha Stone which were a most curious mix of space rock set to dance rhythms and beats. I kind of liked it and still do but unfortunately I can’t find a YouTube video of their work. Some time earlier this decade he appears to have thrown in the towel, but Alpha Stone are back (here is a website which deals with all things Bassman).


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